Many of us in the Agile community have voice our opposition to the individual performance reviews and target setting.
Now, a professor from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has come out with a similar position and not less than in the serious Wall Street Journal (copy of the article), yes, the same that your CEO religiously reads every morning in the 5 star hotels where he “lives” — there’s hope he read this article.
Professor Culbert goes on to say that annual performance reviews are not only counter-productive, they are immoral. He says it best:
I believe it’s immoral to maintain the facade that annual pay and performance reviews lead to corporate improvement, when it’s clear they lead to more bogus activities than valid ones. Instead of energizing individuals, they are dispiriting and create cynicism. Instead of stimulating corporate effectiveness, they lead to just-in-case and cover-your-behind activities that reduce the amount of time that could be put to productive use. Instead of promoting directness, honesty and candor, they stimulate inauthentic conversations in which people cast self-interested pursuits as essential company activities.
He goes on to say that the manager’s job and responsibility is to enable and promote the employee’s performance, not to “punish” it:
The boss’s assignment is to guide, coach, tutor, provide oversight and generally do whatever is required to assist a subordinate to perform successfully. That’s why I claim that the boss-direct report team should be held jointly accountable for the quality of work the subordinate performs. I’m sick and tired of hearing about subordinates who fail and get fired, while bosses, whose job it was to ensure subordinate effectiveness, get promoted and receive raises in pay.
Here are some of the dysfunctions that the annual performance review cause:
- They harm teamwork
- The “objective” nature is completely fake objectivity
- They create adversarial relationships between employee and manager
- Pay for “performance” is really market-driven pay (or raises) in disguise
- They impede personal development
How about you? What have been your experiences with the annual performance review? Write it up on the comments.